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Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando

The Gothic haunted house, where the gargoyles come

The Gothic haunted house, where the gargoyles come to life. (Credit: Universal)

Universal Orlando doesn't just have a haunted house: It has haunted houses, plural. Seven of them of them. For Halloween, on select nights through Oct. 31, the theme park also offers a "street experience" with roaming monsters (vampires! menacing beasts! chainsaw-wielding prisoners!) and two shows.

Universal's movie and TV connections of course make us expect haunted houses occupied by pop culture, and that's what they serve up with horrors based on AMC's "The Walking Dead," the video game and movie "Silent Hill" and rocker Alice Cooper. Universal is also drawing on its rich cinema history -- remember all those great Dracula, Frankenstein and Mummy movies from the 1930s? -- with House of Horrors, staffed with classic monsters.

And, since we all need to lighten things up amid all this dark horror, one of the shows is "Bill & Ted's Excellent Halloween Adventure." Things do get scary again, however, with the magic-based 20 Penny Circus, as it counts scary clowns on its roster.

General admission tickets are cheapest online and run $36.99 to $66.99, with weekend nights tending to sell out quickly. Package vacation deals are available as well, with the Gory Getaway from $319 for a three-night hotel stay (from $609 onsite) and including passes to Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure, and one night admission to Halloween Horror Nights. Details: halloweenhorrornights.com.

Photo: Universal's Gothic haunted house, where the gargoyles come to life.

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